Who says apps downloaded online are always malware-infested? Well, apparently, Apple wants people to think that.
Or at least, that’s what Apple’s newest App Store feature coming in OS X 10.8 – otherwise known as Mountain Lion – this summer seems to imply. Apple has scarcely mentioned the importance of safe applications in their App Stores, mainly because of their strict guidelines on allowing non-malware infected applications into the App Store. However, taking a note from Google in noting that people will download anything… seriously, anything… from an app store or online, with or without being safe about it, Apple has unveiled a new feature for OS X 10.8: Developer ID.
The Mac App Store is the safest place for users to get software for their Mac, but we also want to protect users when they download applications from other places. Developer ID is a new way to help prevent users from installing malware on their Mac. Along with Gatekeeper, a new feature in Mountain Lion, signing applications with your Developer ID certificate provides users with the confidence that your application is not known malware and has not been tampered with.
This essentially means that anything downloaded from the Mac App Store (as opposed to something you download online – say, Adobe Flash) will have a special “signature” attached to it, giving you the comfort of knowing that you have Apple-approved (and secure) applications for your Mac. Now, this would also be worth applying to the iOS App Store, but it seems sort of silly to do so: you currently can’t download iOS applications from outside the App Store that is built into the phone – with a few exceptions like jailbreaking. Thus, every app in the iOS App Store is already Apple-approved, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple starting to include some sort of “preferred developer” badge on their most-trusted/most well-done applications.